Mr. Nancy Actor Says 'American Gods' Should Get Its Own Expanded TV Universe

Thursday, 27 April 2017 - 12:17PM
American Gods
Thursday, 27 April 2017 - 12:17PM
Mr. Nancy Actor Says 'American Gods' Should Get Its Own Expanded TV Universe
Image credit: Starz
You can't throw a stone in Hollywood without hitting at least one movie executive desperately trying to spin a single hit movie into a five-picture franchise (we're looking at you, James Cameron). It's infuriating, because not all franchises deserve this kind of treatment. A lot of the time, worldbuilding overtakes storytelling, leading to messy movies that are an absolute chore to sit through.

But every now and then, though, a property comes along that seems so perfectly tailored to the shared universe concept that it's a surprise nobody's taken advantage of it yet. Case in point: Orlando Jones, who plays African trickster god Mr. Nancy in American Gods, has already started talking about the series' potential to be something like a mythological MCU:

Opening quote
"I really think that all of these characters deserve their own world and planet to come alive in and I'm really hoping that, like the Marvel Universe, that begins to happen - the Gaiman universe - just because these are superheroes that I have a different kind of connection with for whatever reason and I'd just be excited to see them come to life."
Closing quote

There's certainly enough lore and backstory to Gaiman's stories—his super-detailed, annotated Author's Preferred Text for American Gods proves that—to justify this kind of wider, interconnected storytelling. In truth, the Gaiman Universe already exists, albeit purely in novel form at the present time.



But what American Gods goes further than just rehashing familiar old tales. Outside of mythology experts and existing Neil Gaiman fans, the adventures of the African deity Anansi (known in the show as the alias Mr. Nancy) isn't that well-known. There's mystery and allure behind this trickster character, and it's not always clear in American Gods just how far his powers and abilities stretch. This is to say nothing of the overwhelming amount of lore and backstory that already exists for the character, thanks to the tireless work that Gaiman has put into making his story universe feel alive and believable.

American Gods is a tale about old-world gods facing off against their modern replacements. If the shared movie universe is the modern equivalent of old legends, seeing a face-off between, say Mr. Nancy and Raven from Native American myth would make for a great standalone arc.

American Gods premieres on Starz on April 30th, 2017. If you haven't checked out our interview with P. Craig Russell, the legendary artist behind the American Gods comic book, click here!
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